Complexity Explorer Santa Few Institute


Complexity Explorer students will apply their knowledge of complex systems science to solve open-ended real-world problems in the Complexity Challenges. Read these Guidelines thoroughly before you get started.

Each Challenge will consist of an open-ended question designed by Santa Fe Institute faculty in collaboration with a Partner.  The question is open-ended to allow students to consider a variety of approaches to creating their solutions to the Challenge provided.   Each Challenge will have a an enrollment cap, a deadline for submission, and a deadline for evaluation of peer submissions.  Challenge students wil be supported by mentors in the forum, email and through live virtual office hours. Once the submission deadline has been reached, submissions will be released to the students for Peer Review guided by an instructor-designed rubric.  The top rated solutions will then be examined by the instructor and partner team in depth and final scores will be released. 

Ellen Badgley: "The Complexity Challenge gave me the perfect occasion to relive the Santa Fe approach: take a problem, and play with it. Look at it from different angles, consider different approaches, search for parallels to other systems. And above all: have fun."

General Challenge Guidelines

  • A Challenge is an open-ended question or set of questions that can allow a variety of approaches to solutions.
  • The Challenge will be presented in video and text format by the Challenge instructor once enrollment has closed and the Challenge becomes active.
  • The question may be presented with or without data sets.
  • Write-up and video solutions are to be received within the submission deadlines.
  • At this time only individual work is accepted.
  • Support will be provided through discussion board interaction and video chat opportunities with Challenge mentors, and through email.
  • Once the submission deadline has been reached, submissions will be subject to review.  Select top submissions will be made public on the website. 

Challenge Solution Characteristics

  • The solution must be the result of original work.
  • The solution should be presented as an anonymous memo (no name included), no longer than five pages long (excluding tables and figures) typed with 12 point Times New Roman font, single and a half spacing, in PDF format. 
  • Any supporting material used to generate the solution, including computer code, worksheets, etc, must be provided. 
  • A short video description of the solution and approaches used, no longer than three minutes and no larger than 25mb, in mp4 format, should be prepared and provided in a separate submission.  The video explanation should stand alone and be self-contained; someone should not need to read the solution document to understand the video.  You should not mention your name in the video.

Rohan Mehta: "Don't try to be perfect, but do try to be good."